Pastor’s Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pastor’s Friday Comments (12.06.19)

  ‘Tis the Season for going to the mailbox to find, among the Christmas cards (a pleasure to receive), the bills (a necessary part of life), and the occasional letter (a cherished rarity), a daily stack of catalogs, full of suggestions for gifts, both practical...

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From the Pastor….

One of the challenges that pastors who try to follow the calendar for the Christian year have is getting congregants to recognize that Advent is all about contemplation and preparation for the coming of Christ into our lives and remembering that, one day, there will...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (11.29.19)

For the past week Kristy Engel has been hosting two charming young ladies from Brisbane, Australia, Aleisha Paten and Meg White. The three of them are about to embark on a tour that will take them from Atlanta to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, India, and...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (11.22.19)

In a recent op-ed column originally published in The New York Times, Nicholas D. Kristof takes note of a dangerous killer among us. It’s called loneliness. He cites research from Brigham Young University that concludes that “social isolation is more lethal than...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (11/15/19)

We are currently collecting our Global Missions Offering. The goal is $20,000 and the money will be divided among Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Global Missions (60%), Kristy Engel, our member and International Ministries global missionary (30%), and our Bolivia...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (11.08.19)

                            William Riley, a recent graduate of Candler School of Theology at Emory University and now the pastor of a Baptist church in Kentucky, realized he had a rare opportunity - as a minister - to visit a large number of churches of many...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (11.01.19)

Something that many of us have suspected has now been documented. Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) have left organized religion, especially Christianity, and they’re not coming back. Religious leaders had hoped that, once they started families they would...

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From the Pastor….

I’m guessing that you waste at least half an hour every day. To put it another way, I imagine that you could find half an hour each day that you could spend more productively than you do now. I want to suggest a way for you to spend that 30 minutes for the next 30...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (10.25.19)

For a pastor, one of the great features about living in the Atlanta area is our proximity to great centers of theological teaching. As a Baptist, I’m particularly proud of and beholden to the McAfee School of Theology of Mercer University. But Atlanta is also home to...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (10.18.19)

For a few days at the beginning of this week, I did very little besides read and meditate on specific passages of Scripture. The purpose was to devise a sermon plan for the 2019-20 Christian year, but the far more important result was the privilege of having these...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (10.11.19)

Next Wednesday, October 16, during our Bible study and prayer time, we will be writing brief letters to our elected national representatives, urging Congress to accelerate progress on global nutrition, to address the root causes of migration, or to reform the criminal...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (10.04.19)

“The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” is the way those of us who were brought up on the King James Version of the Bible learned the first verse of the twenty-fourth Psalm. It might not have been as familiar to us as...

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From the Pastor….

Each week in the meditative service that we call “The Beginning” I present a brief meditation based on one of the lectionary texts for that Sunday. Last week, in preparation for that, I was reading a commentary on 1 Timothy 6:6-19. The writer, either Paul or one of...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (09.27.19)

Let’s all join in our annual collective lament: It’s ninety degrees outside, it’s not even Halloween, and you’re already starting to see Christmas decorations in the stores. I know, they’re rushing the season; you’re starting to feel the stress of all you’ll have to...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (09.20.19)

There is a scene near the end of the movie October Sky where Homer Hickham, the high schooler and budding rocket scientist has just come home from a science fair where his team took first place. When the prize was announced, the famed scientist Wernher von Braun had...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (09.13.19)

The term you hear me use most often when referring to our congregation is “a family of faith.” It is not a designation that should be applied lightly or that is appropriate for every church, but last Sunday was a great example of how apt it is when talking about...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (09.06.19)

This Sunday, September 8, we will be recognizing two great servants of God for their ministry to children, both at Parkway and at other places. Bob and Paula Parris have worked in children’s ministry for their entire adult lives. Bob has served as a children’s...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (08.30.19)

Let’s do a little thought experiment. If you couldn’t go to the store or bring any more food into the house, how long would it be before you went hungry?  Start with your refrigerator. That’s where all the perishables are. Drink the milk, fry the eggs, eat the salad...

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From the Pastor….

I have spent a lot of time lately writing about and preaching against the behavior of other Christians, especially those who claim to be “evangelical” but who are more interested in advancing their own religious and political agendas than with spreading the love of...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (08.23.19)

I tried something on for size the other day. I was at a faculty meeting for the Contextual Education program at Emory’s Candler School of Theology. We were introducing ourselves to each other with our names and where we served. When it was my turn, I said, “I’m Jim...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (08.16.19)

One of the problems that every culture has faced is the tendency not to trust “the other,” anyone who is different from ourselves. Overcoming this challenge is made more difficult by our tendency to stay within our own group, demographically, ethnically, religiously,...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (08.09.19)

In response to the tragic mass shootings of this past week, I and the other members of the Johns Creek Interfaith Alliance issued the following joint statement: August 7, 2019 Dear friends, We, the members of the Johns Creek Interfaith Alliance, a group of clergy and...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (08.02.19)

On Wednesday night I polled the group that gathered for Bible study on a single question: How many of you became Christians in a Baptist church before the age of fifteen? Easily ninety percent of those present raised their hands.  The fact that this was a bunch of...

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From the Pastor….

This column is longer than the ones I usually write, but if you’re a member of the Parkway family I would appreciate it if you would bear with me and read it all. When I was in my late forties I remarked to a friend and fellow church member that I hoped that I would...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (07.26.19)

One of the essential characteristics for Christians to grow in our faith is an openness to the leading of God. The day we profess faith in Christ we are not immediately and automatically filled with a certain knowledge of how to address every situation that comes...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (07.19.19)

It’s like a death in the family. For the past fifteen years a group of men from our church has met almost every Wednesday morning at Magnolia Bakery and Cafe’ in Norcross. We have read an untold number of books, many classics of Christian devotion, others more...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (07.12.19)

I write today in praise of hymns -- not in contrast or opposition to any other type of music -- but simply for their beauty and power as they lead us into and enhance our worship. The classic hymn form allows a depth of expression and exploration of theme unmatched by...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (07.05.19)

A biblical passage to which I am often drawn and from which I derive comfort (perhaps too much comfort) is in the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John. If you’re really up on your Gospels you know that John 6 begins with Jesus miraculously feeding over five thousand...

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From the Pastor….

I’ve always admired people who are able to “see” things before they actually exist. These visionaries look beyond what currently is and conceive of what things might become. They are the great inventors, innovators, and builders of our society.  I’ve never considered...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (06.28.19)

Last Sunday, June 23, I preached a sermon entitled “All the Children of God”, based on the Epistle Lectionary text for that day, Galatians 3:23-29. Through what I believe was a careful reading of the passage and prayerful application to our contemporary culture, I...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (06.21.19)

This week the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has been meeting in our annual General Assembly in Birmingham, Alabama. Several members of our church, including Linda and me, are attending. Last week another group of Baptists met in the same venue (what are the odds?)...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (06.14.19)

James Hollis is a Jungian analyst and an author who approaches life from a secular point of view. Nevertheless, many of his insights have practical application to the existence of any person, regardless of one’s outlook. I have been reading his book Living an Examined...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (06.07.19)

This week our men’s breakfast group read again the story of the exodus of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage as told by Sean Gladding in The Story of God, the Story of Us. In a creative way that is nonetheless faithful to the text, Gladding reminds us of the events...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (05.31.19)

Since Easter, one of the suggested readings for worship in the Revised Common Lectionary has been from the Apocalypse of John, the book of the Bible that we refer to as the Book of Revelation. In our worship service we have read those texts as the alternate reading...

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From the Pastor….

Last month the Parkway Weekday Preschool Ministry closed its doors for the last time. After over twenty years of service to the community, declining enrollment and the retirement of long-time director Sue Moser made it a difficult but necessary decision. The ending of...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (05/24/19)

The Covenant Sunday School Class that Linda and I teach is currently studying doctrines that are important to Baptists. This emphasis may seem incongruent with something I said in a sermon last week about how Christians had reduced what was essentially a movement...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (05.17.19)

  This Sunday our congregation will do something we do every year about this time. We will approve the spending plan for the fiscal year that will begin July 1. As you should have seen in the material that was sent to you, next year’s budget will be virtually the...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (05.10.19)

The Men’s Group has just finished reading and discussing Miroslav Volf’s Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a Culture Stripped of Grace. It is probably fair to say that most of us are relieved to be able to move on to something else. Our discussion revealed that...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (05.03.19)

  I’ve been laboring under a false impression and I have probably led some of you to think along similar lines. As I have discussed the challenges facing Christianity in our culture today, I have made several observations about national trends in attendance in...

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From the Pastor

I think my aversion to social media is well-documented, particularly when they are used for nothing more edifying than taking gossip to a higher technological level or to spread baseless and factually inaccurate rumors. Nevertheless (and I hate to admit this)...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (04.26.19)

I hope you will be at church Sunday. There is a very good chance that you were there last Sunday, it being Easter and all. Unless there is a good reason, most Christians make an effort to be present on the holiest day of the Christian year. It is, after all, the day...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (04.12.19)

Occasionally I have the privilege of leading the worship service on Sunday afternoon at Ivy Hall Assisted Living, down the street from the church. I always enjoy being with the small group of retired people that faithfully attend. We meet in the large lobby in the...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (04.05.19)

I heard a friend pray the other day to the effect that “we’ve gotten good at getting by with a little but we’re not so good at doing well when we have a lot.” He asked the Lord to guide us in that latter, rarer state. It strikes me as a particularly appropriate prayer...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (03.29.19)

Robert Putnam’s extremely insightful analysis of modern culture, Bowling Alone, was published in 2001. Based on huge amounts of social data accumulated over the past century, its subtitle gives you a good idea of his conclusions: The Collapse and Revival of American...

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From the Pastor…

A Prayer for Sundays O Lord, I am grateful that you are with us every day and everywhere we are. The one who watches over us “neither slumbers nor sleeps.” But Sunday, the day of the resurrection, is always special and so I ask for your presence among us on Sundays in...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (03.22.19)

All of us say foolish things from time to time. The more we try to say the more likely we are to utter something that we later regret. More unfortunate, however, is when we repeat some pious-sounding phrase many times without realizing that the statement is false....

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (03.15.19)

        In a recent conversation with a young minister, I heard him say, “I have never been more grateful for the autonomy of the local church.” The context was a discussion of a denomination with a more hierarchical structure making a decision...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (03.08.19)

I learned something this week in our men’s prayer group about cattle herding in Australia. In Future Faith: Ten Challenges Reshaping Christianity in the 21st Century, Wesley Granberg-Michaelson informs us that, “In Australia there are two ways of forming and...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (03.01.19)

A few years ago, for reasons that I cannot remember and with no particular purpose in mind, I brought home a vintage (read old) Royal manual typewriter that had belonged to my dad. For those of you who don’t know what a typewriter is, see the picture. I must have felt...

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From the Pastor

As you receive this newsletter, we will be preparing to enter the Lenten Season. It wasn’t too long ago that you would not have read that sentence in a Baptist publication. However, over the past few decades we in the “Free Church” tradition have discovered the value...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (02.22.19)

Through my ministry as a pastor I often hear myself saying the words, “I’m praying for you.” Though I may not always be as intentional at following through on that promise as I should be, I try to be true to my word. And I believe that prayers offered for others make...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (02.14.19)

Through our support of and cooperation with mission partners at home and around the world, Parkway extends our influence for Christ in remarkable ways. Because of our financial gifts both through the Global Missions Offering and our general fund, as well as those from...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (02.08.19)

In a recent article by a neurologist, I learned about an incredibly prescient story written in 1909 by E. M. Forster titled “The Machine Stops.” Forster imagines a future where people live underground in isolated cells, never seeing one another and communicating only...

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From the Pastor

On Sunday, January 20, our congregation took a critical step toward ensuring that a family of faith committed to reverent, classic worship, personal relationships with fellow believers, and a Christian witness in a changing environment continues to exist in our...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (02.01.19)

I saw a cartoon many years ago that reflects the mixed messages we receive every day. A young person is preparing to get dressed in the morning and he has laid out on the bed two tee shirts. He is trying to decide which to wear. One says, “Just say ‘No!’” The other...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (01.25.19)

  Soon our church website will have a new format. You may not see a lot of difference in its appearance, but it will be a little easier to navigate and the announcements of current events will be more prominent. However, one of the elements from our current site...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (01.18.19)

Over a century ago an Episcopal clergyman and author named Phillips Brooks delivered the Lyman Beecher Lectures on Preaching at Yale. They were one of the most formative influences on my own preaching. (No, I didn’t hear them in person. They were collected into a...

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Pastor’s Friday Comments (01.11.19)

Every morning I engage in a fairly structured order of prayer. (I know prayer should be spontaneous, like conversation, but this works for me.) And every day I conclude by saying the prayer our Lord taught us to pray, always in the King James English, the way I and...

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